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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Time to Rest

A young woman trudged along a winding path, her shoulders slumped and her steps heavy. She was determined not to stop until she reached her destination, no matter how weary she became.

Soon, she passed an old man resting at the side of the path, but scarcely gave him a glance before continuing on.

“You look tired,” the old man called after her. “Why don’t you sit and rest awhile?”

“I can’t,” she said. “I have a long way to go.”

The woman continued on, and a short time later, she heard footsteps approaching from behind. It was the old man, and he smiled and tipped his hat as he caught up to her.

“Do you hear the birds singing?” he asked. “And isn’t that warm breeze comforting?”

The woman shook her head, realizing she hadn’t noticed the birds singing or given a single thought to the breeze.

“A little rest goes a long way.” The old man gave her a knowing look. “And it makes the journey more enjoyable.”

Every day is a new journey, filled with things to do and places to go, but if we don’t take time to rest every now and then, weariness will set in and we’ll be too tired to enjoy what we might otherwise appreciate.

Take a few minutes to simply be still. God’s goodness is all around us, and we might be surprised at what we’re missing in all our busy-ness.

Are you taking time to rest?

~Marge Wiebe

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in devotion, Marge Wiebe

 

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Author Chat with Amy Cattapan

IMG_4390I’m happy to introduce our readers to author Amy Cattapan. Amy’s debut young adult novel is Angelhood. I was privileged to read Angelhood in its infancy. There was no doubt in my mind that this book would make it into print. Click here for my full review of Angelhood. Amy is generously offering one free e-book of Angelhood. See the end of this post for details.

QPQ – I can’t imagine writing for the young adult market. It scares me to even think about it! What prepared you to reach out to this impressionable age group?

Amy – Years of hanging out with my target audience! I’m a middle school English teacher, and I began my career as a high school English teacher. Also, if we’re going to be honest, I prefer reading middle grade and young adult books. They tend to be faster-paced than adult books! So I’m very comfortable with this age group.

QPQ – I can’t imagine any better training to write for YA than that. Angelhood tackles the really tough subject of teenage suicide. Today’s statistics break my heart. For ages 10 – 24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death. What led you to write about such an emotionally devastating issue?

Amy – That statistic makes me so sad.  I guess it’s a topic I’ve had on my mind for a long time. Even in junior high, I was fascinated (and frightened!) by the idea of suicide. How could someone decide to do that? I even ended up writing my eighth grade research paper on teen suicide just because I wanted to get a better understanding of how someone could end up feeling like life wasn’t worth living. Throughout the years, I’ve had several students consider and/or attempt suicide. None of my students actually ended their own lives, but there was a younger brother of two of my former students who took his own life a few years ago (right after I finished revising Angelhood, in fact).  In the beginning, I didn’t set out with a plan to write a book about teen suicide. It was simply an idea that came to me rather suddenly one day when I was bemoaning the fact that I had yet to work out the kinks in a middle grade mystery I had hoped to write during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). The plot for Angelhood tumbled out within three days, so that’s what I ended up writing for NaNo that year (2011).

Angelhood2 500x750QPQ – Do you recommend that parents read this book with their younger teens and ‘tweens? I think it would be a great book to instigate an open and honest discussion regarding suicide.

Amy – Excellent question. It’s definitely appropriate for high school students, but I could understand if parents had reservations with middle school students reading about such a serious topic. Like I said, I wrote my eighth grade research paper on teen suicide (somewhat surprisingly, my mom had no qualms about it!), so I think an eighth grader could read it, but parents have to decide if it’s appropriate for their younger teens and tweens. I’m glad you think it’s a book that could start some conversations between parents and their children. If it helped open lines of communication about depression and/or suicide, then that would be great.

QPQ – Just so everyone understands, this is not a gloomy book! The characters are so real and their mission creates plenty of suspense to keep those young readers turning the pages. What do you hope they will take away from reading Angelhood?

Amy – Thanks for saying that! It’s been a little hard for me to talk about the book because I worry people will get the wrong idea and think it’s all gloomy! Definitely not my goal! And it wouldn’t surprise me if people who know me are a little shocked by my subject matter. I like to think of Angelhood as being a story of moving from the darkness of despair to the light of hope. (And you know, as an English teacher, I’m going to throw in lots of imagery and symbolism with the light and the dark, right?)  What I hope readers take away is this idea that we’re never really alone in our problems. Even in our darkest of times, God is always there with us, walking by our side and sending his angels to keep guard over us. I hope readers will remember Nanette’s story whenever they feel like they are alone and the world is beating down on them, and then remember that there’s a God who loves them, and all they need to do is reach out and ask for help. Ask God. Ask your guardian angel. Ask your family. Ask your friends. You’re not alone.

QPQ – I can’t think of a better takeaway from any book! What can we expect next from author Amy Cattapan?

Amy – I recently learned that a short (true) story I wrote about a family recipe will be appearing in a recipe book due out this summer. In my piece, I explain why I owe my existence to a peach pie! I also hope to start querying my spiritual travel memoir and eventually get back to writing that middle grade mystery.

QPQ – Where can readers connect with you online?

IMG_8231Amy – Website: www.ajcattapan.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/acattapan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJCattapan
Instagram: https://instagram.com/a.j.cattapan/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ajcattapan/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24553425-angelhood
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AJCattapan
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/ajcattapan

And everyone’s welcome at the Facebook launch party on April 30: http://tinyurl.com/AngelhoodFacebookParty

Giveaway: Leave a comment for Amy here and include your e-mail address. Do it securely, such as writer[at]jumbo[dot]com so the bots don’t pick it up. It’s that simple! Drawing takes place on Sunday, May 3rd, at or about 5:00pm Eastern. 

~ Pegg Thomas

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Author Chat, Pegg Thomas

 

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Letters to My Sons

To my First-born,

_DSC6172I love you.

You’ve always been a fighter. You fought sleep, you fought meals…you just…fought. But as you grew, this trait served you. You’ve overcome so much.

file0002021847389Oh, the hospitals. Surgery after surgery. I still recall the doctors taking three-month-old-you into the operating room. Misery.

No school work for you! Just notebooks full of elaborate comic strips. You had us and your teachers so worried. How bored you were. We thought you were lazy. We didn’t see your immense creativity.

file9091344746881You were always so quiet. No one understood what went on behind those inquisitive eyes. You stared outside for hours. Thinking.

First you taught me how to pull out my hair, then you taught me how to relax.

I love that you’re our different drummer. We needed some shaking in our organized, routine world.

You have a heart for your friends. You enjoy life. You rest when needed. You’re eloquent. And confrontational. But you confront injustice.

You appreciate beauty. You love music (even though our musical tastes differ). You have so many talents. You’re a technology, automotive, and art genius, but you don’t see it. Everything you touch, you fix.

You’re a risk-taker. Blend with wisdom and you’ll go far.

ryYou’re humble. You give the best hugs. You love animals. You don’t take a path, you make one. You find ways to promote others as you promote yourself. You like strolls through parks, swimming in the ocean, hiking to waterfalls, and camping under the stars.

You’ve a long way to go, but you’ve come equally far. I’m proud of you.

God knew the world needed another fearless warrior. I love you. Keep the faith.

Mom

***

To my Second-born,

I love you.

steYou’ve always been happy. Even when we laid you in your crib, you laughed.

Though you were always happy, you’ve not always been content. You can’t stand the quiet. You’re noisy. My lefty.

You have the gift of making people laugh. You were the class clown. But that trait was tempered with respect for authority.

file9671307538042You’re messy. You came home from school leaving a trail of shoes and socks behind you. But who could complain? You’d plop yourself on the floor beside your book bag and tackle your homework before you did anything else.

You cried when you didn’t know what you wanted to be when you grew up. I have no idea why. You’d narrowed it down to two things: an actor or a comedian. Score.

You wore out your Stevie Wonder and Steven Curtis Chapman CDs. We must’ve named you aptly.

You’re the same in church as you are in public. You’re disciplined. You’re honest. You’re active and driven. You make a goal and achieve it.

file3941263864584You hate evil. You love people. You’re authentic. You love the city, but you’re a country boy at heart. You and your ball caps.

God knew the world needed another joyful noise. I love you. Keep the faith.

Mom

 
 

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It’s Like Chatting with the Greatest Literary Agent in the Business

Questions-Book-Cover-200x300I was pretty sure I’d never sign with an agent. I’d been rejected (or ignored) by just about every agency that worked in Christian fiction. So when I found out Chip MacGregor was planning to be in Oklahoma City for the ACW Conference, I almost didn’t go. But with a hope and a prayer—literally—I paid the conference fees, only to find out a few days before the conference that Chip wouldn’t be there. Strep throat had derailed his plans and, I was fairly certain, my future.

I went to the conference anyway, learned a lot, and had a great time. And because Chip is so gracious, since he couldn’t be there, he invited all the attendees to send him a proposal. Mine was in the mail on Monday.

I didn’t hear anything and chalked it up to one more rejection. Of course the fact that Chip had been very ill and then had invited a whole bunch of people to send him proposals never entered my mind. I figured I was a terrible writer and ought to just quit. The 7-Eleven on the corner is always hiring, you know.

But a few months later, Chip attended an event in Tulsa, and my friend and I decided to drive the ninety miles to meet him personally. I approached him after the meeting, introduced myself, and asked him about the proposal I’d sent. He apologized for not having gotten back to me sooner and promised to look at my proposal soon.

I heard from him a month or so later and, amazingly, he liked it. I signed with him, and I couldn’t be happier. Did signing with Chip automatically lead to a big contract? Not even close. But it did do a few things for me. Because I signed with Chip:Chipheadshot1

  • I have at least one industry expert who thinks I can write.
  • I have someone I can ask all my questions of—and he always responds immediately.
  • I have an expert to guide me in career decisions.
  • And of course, I have someone to get my books in front of the right people at the right publishing houses.

I’m sure most writers think their agents are the best, so it won’t surprise you to know I think Chip MacGregor is the best agent in the entire world. It’s not just his experience, knowledge, and integrity, but Chip puts his clients’ needs above his own. When he couldn’t sell my book, he didn’t hang onto it hoping to make some money off it later when the CBA winds shifted. Instead, he encouraged me to self-publish it. Does that make him any money at all? Nope. But that’s Chip. For him, it’s about helping writers.

Chip and Holly Lorincz have just released a fabulous book, How can I find a Literary Agent?  If you haven’t yet, pick up your copy as soon as possible. It’ll be like sitting down for a chat with the greatest agent in the business.

Look for How can I find a Literary Agent? at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBookstore. Follow Chip’s blog, where he answers author’s questions every week, and visit MacGregor Literary for more information him and the rest of the MacLit agents.

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, is available now. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Author Chat with Robin Patchen

Robin with Finding AmandaIt’s a thrill to seat one of our own, Robin Patchen, in the guest chair for today’s Author Chat. Robin has been, and continues to be, a vital member of the Quid Pro Quills. We wouldn’t be who we are without her! Today we’re celebrating with Robin on the release of her third book, Finding Amanda.

Robin is giving away a copy of Finding Amanda to one lucky winner! See below for details.

Tweet This: #NewRelease giveaway today from @RobinPatchen on the #QuidProQuills

QPQ: First things first, Robin, tell us what Finding Amanda is all about.

Robin:  Thank for hosting me. Before I jump in, let me just say that without my awesome critique partners here at Quid Pro Quills, Finding Amanda would be a mess, as would all my books. Y’all rock. Seriously.

On to the story:

Chef and popular blogger Amanda Johnson hopes publishing her memoir will provide healing and justice. Her estranged husband, contractor and veteran soldier Mark Johnson, tries to talk her out of it, fearing the psychiatrist who seduced her when she was a teen might return to silence her.

But Amanda doesn’t need advice, certainly not from her judgmental soon-to-be ex-husband. Her overconfidence makes her vulnerable when she travels out of town and runs into the abuser from her past. A kind stranger comes to her rescue and offers her protection.

Now Mark must safeguard his wife both from the fiend who threatens her life and from the stranger who threatens their marriage.

QPQ: What prompted you to write this story? What made it important to you?

Robin: That’s a funny story, actually. I was at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis in September of 2011. The conference took place at the St. Louis Hyatt at the Arch, and in the lobby of the hotel, there are these contemporary, box-like chairs. The first day I was there, I sat in one of those chairs, and I immediately didn’t like it. I’m a bit claustrophobic, and I thought, if someone were to sit on the coffee table, I’d be trapped. And then the wheels started turning. What if someone did? What if that someone were a villain? A person I’d been trying to avoid?

From that seed, the idea grew. Over the next few days while I sat in workshops and met authors and editors and agents, in the back of my mind, that seed germinated. Four days later on the eight-hour drive home, I came up with the basic plot. During the rest of September and October, I wrote a general outline and figured out who my characters were, and then in November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—and wrote over fifty thousand words. I finished the novel in January. It’s been waiting for publication ever since.

QPQ: What better place to birth a story than the ACFW Conference! What do you hope readers will take away from Finding Amanda?

Robin: I write my stories to entertain, so I hope people walk away feeling like they’ve been on an exciting, suspenseful ride.

But I hope people find a nugget of truth in it, too. Too many people—and I used to be one of them—believe they are defined by their past mistakes. Both the hero and the heroine in this book have something shameful in their past, and both of them have to face it and be free of it in order to embrace their future together. Like Amanda and Mark, I have some pretty ugly stuff in my past, but I’m not defined by my failures. I’m not even defined by my successes. We are all defined by God, who knows everything about us and loves us anyway.

QPQ: Amen to that! You’re already a multi-published author with a well-known agent. Walk us through your thought process as you decided to self-publish Finding Amanda.

Robin: That’s an excellent question. My agent, the brilliant Chip MacGregor, tried to sell Finding Amanda and didn’t have any luck. We talked about taking the book to smaller publishers, but Chip encouraged me to self-publish instead. He thought I could get more traction and might be happier if I had more control over the process. I was nervous about it—nervous enough that it’s taken me a year to take his advice. But after much prayer and the gentle prodding of kind friends, I tentatively stepped in.

QPQ: What is the single most important tip you have for someone thinking about self-publishing a novel?

Robin: Don’t self-publish a bad book. And unless your mother and your best friend are publishing professionals, they can’t tell you if your book is good or bad. Find good critique partners (hint: they’re not all good—and mine are the best) and take their advice. Then hire a great editor who can help you reshape your book into the best possible story. Then after you’ve made the story as good as you can, hire a proofreader. Until you’ve done all of those things, you’re not ready. You just may learn as you go through the editing process is that the book isn’t where it should be. If you publish a book that isn’t ready, you can do irreparable damage to your career as a novelist.  And there are enough bad books on the market already. Let yours be one of the great ones.

QPQ: Great advice. What’s coming next from author Robin Patchen?

Robin: This summer, I hope to publish the story of how the hero and heroine from Finding Amanda met. It’s a novella-length romance that takes place in Providence, Rhode Island, right after September 11th. After that, only God knows.

QPQ: And finally, where can readers connect with you on-line?

Robin: Visit my webpage at http://robinpatchen.com/. If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll receive a free e-cookbook of Amanda’s favorite recipes, which has all the recipes mentioned in the book with a few more thrown in, just for fun. It also has excerpts from Finding Amanda.

You can also find me through my freelance editing website, https://robinsredpen.wordpress.com/. Join my newsletter there and receive updates and occasional specials related to editing.

And of course I’d love for you to buy my book. It’s available at:

findingamandaAmazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Amanda-inspirational-Robin-Patchen-ebook/dp/B00VN0STLI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1428171089&sr=8-3&keywords=robin+patchen

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-amanda-robin-patchen/1121693795?ean=2940151640039

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/finding-amanda/id982982402?mt=11

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/finding-amanda

Giveaway: Leave a comment for Robin here and include your e-mail address. Do it securely, such as writer[at]jumbo[dot]com so the bots don’t pick it up. It’s that simple! A winner in the 48 contiguous states will have their choice of paperback or e-book. A winner from Alaska, Hawaii and other countries will receive an e-book copy. Drawing takes place on Sunday, May 3rd, at or about 5:00pm Central. 

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Author Chat, Giveaway, Robin Patchen

 

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The Turning

MY REVIEW turning

Hope Is Dead.

That is the mantra that global communications expert and advertising guru Trent Cooper wants to get out to the world. But he has a problem. Five people, from different cultures and backgrounds, believe they have heard from God. And the message? Hope is anything but dead.

MY RECOMMENDATION

The Turning, by Davis Bunn is a refreshing read. You won’t find here an old familiar story plot repackaged. In depth characters and an intriguing plot line makes The Turning a very interesting and inspiring read. Recommended.

BOOK BLURB

The message was unexpected but instantly recognizable. A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within. Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command. And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey.

Their actions were demanding, but not particularly grand. Only later would they see a pattern emerge — one that links their tasks together and comes to challenge the cultural direction of the nation. They realize that one small personal response unveiled a new realm of moral responsibility. And this affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions.

But power and money are at stake. Malicious elements soon align themselves to counter the trend. To succeed they must also undermine its source. Can we really believe that God speaks to people today? Surely this must be dismissed as superstition or delusion. These well-intentioned but misguided individuals should not be allowed to cast our society back into the Dark Ages. The public debate and media frenzy place an unprecedented spotlight on knowing and doing God’s will. The five encounter threats, but try to remain steadfast in their faith.

Had God indeed imparted wisdom on selected individuals? Is this sweep of events part of his divine purpose?

Please leave a comment below if you’d like to be entered into a drawing to receive a free copy of this book. Be sure to leave your full name and email address in case you’re the winner. Last day to enter the drawing will be 11:59pm Sunday, April 19, 2015. Winners will be notified the next day.

A copy of this book was supplied to me by the publisher.

Kara loves to read and write supernatural suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller BlogPhoto Resizedcategory. But Kara also loves to share stories about God’s love, mercy and faithfulness.

Kara will share more books and thoughts about faith and God’s unending mercy in bi-monthly posts on this site.

She’ll also keep you updated on the newest releases in Christian fiction and upcoming writing contests.

To contact Kara, email her at fictionwithfaith@gmail.com or by choosing one or more of the below links:

@KaraHunt2015 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Kara Hunt

 

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Too Tired?

ABC-Blocks

My five year old daughter is usually enthusiastic about helping around the house and her frequent response when asked to do something is, “A job? I love jobs!”

The other day, I asked her to pick up the last block from the floor and put it in the toy box. She looked down at the block for a moment and this time her little face was void of any enthusiasm.

“I don’t want to,” she said. “I’m tired.”

“It’s only one block,” I replied. “You’re not that tired.”

To show her I had complete faith in her abilities, I walked into the kitchen as though she’d already completed the task. I waited to see what she’d do, and not more than a minute later, I saw her walking toward the toy box. She was holding the block in her cupped hands, repeating to herself, “I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to do this.”

There are times when I’ve felt God put something on my heart, some prompting within to do a specific thing, to accomplish a certain task, and I’ve responded with, “I can’t do this. I’m not sure I even want to try. I don’t have the strength or the energy. I’m tired.”

Often the things I’ve viewed as monumental and impossible have turned out to be simple blocks. God won’t give us these “blocks” unless He also provides the means and the strength to carry them. We can ignore the blocks or we can pick them up reluctantly, all the while telling ourselves we don’t really have to do this. Me, I’m praying for the strength to embrace whatever God places in my path, for it’s likely He’s building something wonderful with all those blocks.

~Marge Wiebe

 
7 Comments

Posted by on April 15, 2015 in devotion, Marge Wiebe, Parenting

 

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